Tsavo National Parks

Hippos head an all star cast in the Tsavo National Parks

This is the largest National Park in Kenya at 21,000 sq km. It lies in the southern part of the country and is bisected by the Nairobi-Mombasa rail and road link, making it easily accessible. The East, comprising of vast plains of scrubland bordering Tanzania, is the most unspoilt due to its general inaccessibility. The Aruba Dam and Mudanda Rocks are just some of the scenic attractions of this area.

Tsavo West has good access roads and its environment is well-watered with volcanic soil supporting a vast quantity and diversity of plant and animal life. Here, the main attraction is the Mzima Springs, a favourite haunt for hippo and crocodile, with an under-water viewing chamber.

Other game includes: leopard, cheetah, buffalo, black rhino, elephant, giraffe, lesser kudu, waterbuck, eland, gerenuk, impala, zebra, lion, crocodile and small mammals including mongoose, hyrax, dik dik and porcupine.

There is an abundance of bird life and there is always something new to see. One of the most conspicuous birds is the white-headed buffalo weaver, brownish-black and white with a vivid red rump when it flies. Starlings are numerous including the rare but duller Fischer's starling, hornbills are also prevalent. Birds of prey include, bustards, sunbirds and weaver-birds are well represented. Hole nesting birds include parrots, barbets and rollers.

It is an excellent park for visitors who enjoy walking, offering a number of nature trails and the opportunity to explore the Chaimu volcanic crater and guides are available.

Biodiversity

Tsavo East is one of Kenya's oldest and largest National Parks: covering about 40 per cent of the total area of all Kenya's National Parks. Its beautiful landscape and proximity to the coast make it a popular safari destination. It is accredited as one of the world's leading biodiversity strongholds, bushy grassland and open plains alternate with semi-arid acacia scrub and woodlands. Green swathes cross the park where the river banks give raise to lush vegetation. North of Galana is a true wilderness. A number of leading tour guides offer private safaris across this area, camel safaris are a feature.

Tsavo East is recommended for photographers with its fabulous light and unbelievable views, in particular the Mudanda Rock and the Yatta Plateau, the world's largest lava flow. Lugard Fall on the Galana River are remarkable for the shaped water-worn rocks.

Game includes: elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, crocodile, waterbuck, kudu, gerenuk and zebra and Hunter's Hartebeest can be seen with its lyre-shaped horns. Home to some of the largest herds in Kenya, the elephants glow red after dust baths, blowing the vivid red dust through their trunks over their bodies.

Some 500 bird species have been recorded in the area, including ostrich and some migratory kestrels, while buzzards stop at Tsavo East during their long flight south.


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